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Why oh why do I answer my mobile phone when I don’t recognise the number?? I even have my home number permanently on ansaphone yet I always take the call. Doh!

I was on a client site recently between meetings when my mobile phone rang. I didn’t recognise the number but I answered it anyway in my usual way: “Hello, this is Meriel”. The caller’s first mistake was to get my name wrong, and their second was to ask me “how are you doing today?” Aaaaaarrrrggghhhhh!

The salesperson’s objective was to get me to buy some advertising for a feature on life coaching that they were running in a free magazine. However, the salesperson was scripted and clunky, repeatedly mispronounced my name as they over-used it every phrase or two. I felt the intrusion acutely. What was really interesting though was that when I challenged the salesperson robustly to articulate what it was they really wanted, they came off script and started talking naturally. They were suddenly liberated and talking freely, as themself. I gave the caller that feedback and how much more effective the call would have been if they’d taken that approach from the outset, and then ended the call.

Someone listening nearby commented to me that I had been rather intimidating, which caused me to reflect. Why had I lost my cool so quickly? And was there a pattern with cold-callers? I know I find them annoying but on this particular occasion it has really ticked me off. 

I’ve spent some time thinking about it. It’s not simply the intrusion, I’ve realised that in this case it was that the caller wasn’t honest or open. The script they’d been instructed to follow created insincerity, which I detected from the opening few words of the call. My intuition alerted me to the lack of authenticity, which created suspicion and on this occasion, anger. 

I’ve blogged in the past about values, and this incident highlighted to me that I have a value around authenticity. When someone is not being themselves, I experience discomfort. When I feel challenged to be authentic, then I place myself in a state of internal conflict. We all have values, and rarely know what they are until they’re breached. But imagine if you knew what they were and that they underpin how you experience each moment of your life…. how liberating and fulfilling would that be?

If you’d like to take a personal journey and discover your values, give me a shout?

In the meantime, as you know, I’m a huge fan of The Wolf of Wall Street. I love Jordan Belfort, he is absolutely true to himself. Here’s how he cold calls. Love it.